Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A tale of 3 power cords

Do power cords make any difference ? Certainly. Do they improve the sound ? Questionable.

First, let's not get into the old and tired debate about why power cords make any difference. Miles of ordinary cable from the substation to our house and socket, and changing the last 5-6 feet of cable makes a difference ? Well, try for yourself and let your ears decide.

While on a powercord binge, I purchased some loose lengths of the following cables,

1. Acrolink 6N-P4030.
2. Oyaide Tunami GPX
3. Oyaide PA-23

Alll 3 cables could take on lead roles in a system depending on the effect you want to achieve. A short summary of their characteristics is listed below to give you an idea of how they sound. All cables were of course nicely burned in before any serious evaluation was done. I used plugs which I viewed as being commensurate to the cable's price range. Top end Oyaide plugs were used for the Acrolink and Tunami. The PA-23 was used with Wattgate plugs.

1. Acrolink 6N-P4030
This is a fairly thick cable and the most expensive of the lot, at S$ 160 per meter. It is not particular difficult to cut or terminate. Due to its thickness, it cannot be terminated reliably into a UK 3 pin plugs except for the ultra expensive Furutech UK 3 pin plug.

This cable sounds very refined and delicate. It has very good balance with its high frequencies being particularly expressive and detailed. It has a very special quality in the way reverb and decay are produced. The air around instruments is really fantastic and natural. For the price, I think it is a bargain.

Sonics : 9.5/10
Value : 9/10

2. Oyaide Tunami GPX

Another thick cable, and moderately priced at $100 per meter. It somehow seems to me slightly more difficult to work with compared to the Acrolink with its thickness being particularly problematic. Forget about UK 3 pin plugs and get the biggest and baddest plug you can find.

This is not a subtle cable. Deep thundering bass is its striking signature. Significantly darker than the Acrolink or the Oyaide PA-23, the Tunami GPX draws a bit too much attention to the bass. Nothing is particularly wrong with the rest of the frequencies, although its high frequencies definitely do not have that same magic touch as the Acrolink. Definitely what the doctor ordered for bass anemic systems, but others will need to match with care.

Sonics : 7/10
Value : 7/10

3. Oyaide PA-23
The skinny one of the lot, the PA 23 is flexible, easy to terminate and will fit into any UK 3 pin plug without complaint. At S$ 50 per meter, its cheap to boot too.

It has a lot more in common with the Acrolink than the Tunami GPX. It has a special delicate touch in the high frequencies with similar sense of air, and decay. What seperates this from the Acrolink is a relatively bass light response and the the lack of ultimate high frequency refinement which the Acrolink pulls off so convincingly. With the PA-23, you can sense the degree of extension in the highs (which is a touch hi-fi like). For the Acrolink, it just seems so natural, you forget about the cable.

For want of a better description, I think of this as a poor man's Acrolink.

Sonics : 8/10
Value : 10/10

Component matching is just like cooking. A bit of this and a bit of that, to balance all the flavours in the food. Throwing too many of any of the above cables into a system could be too much of a good thing. I use the Acrolink for my source, with the Tunami GPX for my amp. The PA-23is used for the source in my secondary systems.


Anonymous said...

I was quite enjoying your hifi blog until I read this piece about the sounds of 3 power cords. Either you have exceptional hearing denied to most mortals, or a particularly vivid imagination.

Eric said...

That's perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Since you are probably inferring there are no differences, think of the amount of money you have saved by using stock cords.

Anonymous said...

Bro, I would love to see your review on 7N-4030 and Iego Cords.

Budget reviews are hard to come by in our local forums

Eric said...

Click on the label, "Acrolink". There is an article that compares both the 7N-4020 and 7N-4030.

I personally do not own any Iego power cords. I was given a L80520 torrent power cord to try but was generally underwhelmed.

Albert Barkley said...

I have read your whole post, interesting post. But i like your post's title "A tale of 3 power cords".

Dénes Zoltán said...

I agree with your observations. I have heard the Tsunami, the Acrolink and the PA-22 (not the PA-23) in my system. You described quite precisely what I heard too. (Acrolink and Tsunami were Mk2 models but sonically the same.)